The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Stories by Edgar Allan Poe

The TellTale Heart and Ohter Stories Edgar Allan Poe

Rating: 3.5 Stars ★★★☆☆

True! – nervous – very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?

Edgar Allan Poe has written some of my favourite short stories and poems. I have, however, never read his whole work. This book is an excellent introduction to it, with a good selection of his short stories and novellas. It also includes The Raven, though that’s the only poem in the book (I sort of missed Annabel Lee, another favourite of mine).

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Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu

Carmilla Sheridan Le Fanu

Rating: 3 Stars ★★★☆☆

Upon a paper attached to the narrative which follows, Doctor Hesselius has written a rather elaborate note, which he accompanies with a reference to his essay on the strange subject which the MS. elaborates.

Plot

When a mysterious carriage crashes outside their castle home in Styria, Austria, Laura and her father agree to take in its injured passenger, a young woman named Carmilla. Delighted to have some company of her own age, Laura is instantly drawn to Carmilla. But as their friendship grows, Carmilla’s countenance changes and she becomes increasingly secretive and volatile. As Carmilla’s moods shift and change, Laura starts to become ill, experiencing fiendish nightmares, her health deteriorating night after night. It is not until she and her father, increasingly concerned for Laura’s well-being, set out on a trip to discover more about the mysterious Carmilla that the terrifying truth reveals itself.

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The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

The Lie Tree Frances Hardinge

Rating: 4.5 Stars ★★★★★

The boat moved with a nauseous, relentless rhythm, like someone chewing on a rotten tooth.

Plot

Faith’s father has been found dead under mysterious circumstances, and as she is searching through his belongings for clues she discovers a strange tree. The tree only grows healthy and bears fruit if you whisper a lie to it. The fruit of the tree, when eaten, will deliver a hidden truth to the person who consumes it. The bigger the lie, the more people who believe it, the bigger the truth that is uncovered.

The girl realizes that she is good at lying and that the tree might hold the key to her father’s murder, so she begins to spread untruths far and wide across her small island community. But as her tales spiral out of control, she discovers that where lies seduce, truths shatter . . .

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The Haunted Hotel by Wilkie Collins

The Haunted Hotel by Wilkie Collins

Rating: 3 Stars ★★★☆☆

In the year 1860, the reputation of Doctor Wybrow as a London physician reached its highest point.

Plot

An eminent doctor is visited by a desperate woman with a question: am I evil, or insane?

When the letters from Italian servant to his wife in London suddenly cease, she is convinced he has been murdered.

In the darkened bedroom of a mouldering palazzo by the Grand Canal, an English lord sickens and suddenly dies.

How are these little mysteries connected? Spend the night in Room 14 of Venice’s finest hotel, and find out the truth – if you dare…

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The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

Rating: 3.5 Stars ★★★☆☆

The Opera ghost really existed.

Plot

Christine is a beautiful young singer at the Paris Opera. She is watched by the Opera’s ‘phantom’ – a mysterious masked figure who terrorises the Opera’s management and players. With the Phantom’s help, Christine rises to become the Opera’s star performer, but when the Phantom demands her heart in return, Christine is torn between gratitude and pity for her strange benefactor, and love for her childhood sweetheart, Raoul.

 

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The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

the-wasp-factory

Rating: 4 Stars ★★★★☆

I had been making the rounds of the Sacrifice Poles the day we heard my brother had escaped.



Plot

Frank, no ordinary sixteen-year-old, lives with his father outside a remote Scottish village. Their life is, to say the least, unconventional. Frank’s mother abandoned them years ago: his elder brother Eric is confined to a psychiatric hospital; and his father measures out his eccentricities on an imperial scale. Frank has turned to strange acts of violence to vent his frustrations. In the bizarre daily rituals there is some solace. But when news comes of Eric’s escape from the hospital Frank has to prepare the ground for his brother’s inevitable return – an event that explodes the mysteries of the past and changes Frank utterly.

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